Press Release - Focus Ireland - Feb 27th 2019
Focus Ireland has said that new figures reporting a total of 9,987 people homeless in January show the Government is still failing to do enough to ease the crisis.
The figures show a rise of 2.3% (234 people) in one month alone from 9,753 in Dec to 9,987 in Jan 2019.
The figures from the Department of the Environment also show that 3,624 of the number homeless are children (in 1,614 families)
Focus Ireland has said the Government policy must make a much greater shift away from delivering more homeless emergency accommodation and towards delivering a lot more social housing.
The charity said delivering more social housing would also help people struggling to find someone to live in the rental market as it would directly result in freeing up many units in the private rented market that are currently used for HAP tenancies.
The charity also said the current situation would be much worse without the work of Focus Ireland as it helped over 400 families to secure a home last year – in partnership with the State – and move on from homelessness. However, the latest figures show that the crisis is deepening despite this good work by state agencies and NGO’s as the Government continues to shy away from tackling the deeper issues which are driving more people into homelessness.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said:
“We are still deeply concerned that the Government’s primary response to the crisis of family homelessness is to build more ‘Hubs’ and other emergency accommodation. The Government admits that Hubs are only a ‘first response’ but there is still no sign of them delivering a second, substantive response which is adequate to the crisis we are facing. As a result families are being trapped in emergency homeless accommodation for longer and longer periods. They are not there by ‘choice’, they are there because they are not being offered secure and affordable homes.”
“Families need homes not more hubs. We know this can be done as Focus Ireland provided over 150 homes last year in partnership with the State and through the support of our donors. However, the Government is still not delivering enough social housing and we are in very real danger of the short term fix of homeless hubs becoming a long-term situation. Government figures show that too many local authorities are failing to meet the social housing targets, and where the target is met that only highlights how inadequate the targets are as they are far too low given the critical demand for such housing. Governments in the past were able to deliver social and affordable housing much more effectively, even when the country was much poorer than it is today. We need greater ambition and greater delivery of housing.
Focus Ireland research also shows that even a short period of homelessness often has a very negative impact on families – and their children. Over 40% of the families who are homeless in Dublin are now in emergency accommodations for over a year. We strongly believe the Government needs to urgently rethink its approach.”